Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/ADRA/Refugee Resettlement

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Refugee Resettlement
General Conference

ADRA

Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2005


Limited Availability





1. Describe some general causes of why refugees move to other countries. Also, define the terms refugee, internally displaced person (IDP), and immigrant, and explain how these words are similar or different.

Poverty and war are the primary causes for the masses of international refugees today. Often the first causes the second and people wishing not to be killed or kidnapped must leave their homes and seek shelter as refugees or sojourners in foreign nations.

Other causes for internal and international refugees are: famine, natural or man-made disasters, religious persecution, political persecution, and disease.

When a person arrives in your community as a "refugee" it is because your national government has legally certified that individual as someone who had to flee their home and cannot return due to the threat of death. In areas of mass displacement there are usually Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) such as the International Red Cross, ADRA, or others who manage camps near the borders of the country people are fleeing. In these camps the United Nations take applications from people seeking to leave the camp for a new homeland and makes arrangements with the various countries to which they eventually travel. Often, they wait for a number of years before they can find a new home. For more information check with the appropriate government agency in your country.

2. List the immediate needs that a refugee may have when they arrive in their new country. Describe how you would feel if you were suddenly faced with a new language, culture, and environment.

Needs: shelter will be the first, then water, clothing, food, and possibly medical attention.

It can be overwhelming to come to a place where language and culture vary so much from your own. During an already stressful period of having to abandon all that you know, entering a strange land may cause some individuals under such stress to need a great deal of social assistance to gain control over their emotions.

Environmental changes can be anything from a strange place to sleep to a geographically dynamic change. As above, stress can be emotionally overwhelming and those socio-cultural differences must be attended to. Among these can be the change of "home environment," having lost your home and now having to dwell in some form of shelter or housing not known to you before. Geographic changes can be a harsh physical barrier: those from areas normally wet have trouble adjusting to dry seasons. Consistently different temperatures can cause illness as well. For such matters medical professionals are needed to help gain control over physical illnesses that arise.

3. Find out what organizations in your community, country, or the world assist refugees and IDPs.

In New Zealand, visit the RMS Refugee Resettlement web site.

In the United Kingdom, try the Information Center about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR).

For Australia, visit The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).

Vist Citizenship and Immigration Canada for information in Canada.

In the United States, you can visit the Office of Refugee Ressetlement's web site to find a list of State, Federal, and volunteer organizations who assist refugees.

If you know of an organization for a country not listed here, please add it. You can find them by using an Internet search engine with the terms "Refugee resettlement" and your country of interest.

There are also usually local organizations that assist refugees too. Seek them out.

4. Describe in a short paragraph how you would help a refugee or IDP in your community.

5. Ask a person from another country that lives in your community how they adjusted to their new environment. Have that person describe the challenges and contrasts they experienced during the process of settling into their community.

Note that there is no requirement for the person you interview to be a refugee. You can meet this requirement by interviewing any person who has moved to your country.

Most people are proud of their heritage, and even though an immigrant has left his or her homeland, they are likely to still be very fond of their place of birth. Because of this, it is very important that you check your attitude. Do not go in thinking that your interviewee is glad to be away from some dismal wasteland and isn't he glad to be in your obviously superior country. While he may have left a dismal situation, he will likely still long to return there - that's home to him. Be mindful of this possibility.

6. Give a short report at your Pathfinder Club, church, school, or civic group about what you learned about refugees and IDPs and the challenges they face. You can do this through a presentation, skit, short video, or any method that will best convey your findings. Discuss why it is important to be aware of the refugee situation and to try to find solutions to this issue.

This report should be given before any concerned or potentially involved group you have access to. You should remember (as when giving any report) to include proper acknowledgement for those resources you gathered information from. If possible, when giving information of such education to a group, make copies of your outline and any charts, posters, or pictures you used to give as handouts to attendees.

Notes

Today nations having too often dedicated themselves to political correctness rather than service have turned to calling many internal refugees "displaced citizens." A displaced citizen is in fact a refugee; often this refugee is seeking refuge from natural disaster or man-made disasters other than war.

References

  • Refugee Ministry in the Local Congregation by J. Ronald Mummert with Jeff Bach, Herald Press, Scottsdale, Pennsylvania (1992)
  • Chapter entitled "Refugee and Immigration Assistance" in Ministries of Compassion (Second edition) by Monte Sahlin, AdventSource, Lincoln, Nebraska (1998)